Higher Education

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 1–32

Academic growth and development - How do university academics experience it?

  • Gerlese S. ÅKerlind

DOI: 10.1007/s10734-004-6345-1

Cite this article as:
ÅKerlind, G.S. High Educ (2005) 50: 1. doi:10.1007/s10734-004-6345-1


This paper reports the outcomes of a study, undertaken from a phenomenographic perspective, of university academics’ experiences of their own growth and development, i.e., what it means to them, what they are trying to achieve, how they go about it, why they do things that way ... The outcomes presented are based on a series of interviews with teaching and research academics at a research intensive university. The group as a whole showed a range of views of academic development, representing in particular a varying focus on:
  • Academic performance, in terms of increasing work output, academic standing or work quality;

  • Personal learning, in terms of ongoing accumulation of new knowledge and skills or increasing depth of understanding in one’s field of study;

  • Disciplinary or social change, in terms of contributions to one’s field of study or a relevant social community.

Implications for our understanding of academic development and academic work are discussed.


academic developmentfaculty development phenomenographyuniversity researchuniversity teaching

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerlese S. ÅKerlind
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Educational Development and Academic MethodsThe Australian National UniversityAustralia